In less than a month, Gaby will attend her first Exhibition and Sale of the Rendez-Vous Arts (RVA) program as a Coach artist. A young 22-year-old artist, Gaby devoted her time last year to the RVA program which aims at improving the quality of life for people living with a handicap or mental health problem, through creativity and community integration.
“I just feel like I’m hanging out with some friends. It’s literally what it is. They come in, we chat about anything, we eat cookies and drink coffee. We paint for two hours and we do the same next week. It’s a nice little area to unwind once a week. ”
Gaby started painting after her aunt gave her ten free classes she had won in a contest. The artist giving these classes had an artistic style which very much connected with what Gaby was looking for. That person literally became her mentor and taught her everything she knew.
Last year, Gaby was asked by RVA staff to become a Coach artist. As a Coach artist, Gaby conducted weekly painting sessions with vulnerable citizens of the West Island. That was her first experience as an art Coach, but also her first time working with people in a situation of mental or physical problems.
“Mostly, I make sure it’s completely done because sometime, you’re not into it, you’re just having a bad day and you don’t want to put your full heart into it. Everyone has those days, and I’m like: «c’mon you got this, you can do it. It’s going to be gorgeous after. People are gonna love it.» I make sure they have the energy to finish the painting they are doing, so they can be proud of themselves and show what they are doing. That’s basically my job.”
Throughout this experience, Gaby has developed unique skills which have even impacted her own artistic work because of the “bouncing dynamic” within the group. As a Coach artist, she tries to guide the participants in their own work. Even more important, participants are also willing to engage in sharing ideas, giving advice and motivating each other. When she returns home, Gaby reflects on the techniques used by her participants she likes to call “her guys”, and keeps that inspiration in mind.
If you are interested in getting more information on the program or applying as a Coach artist, please contact Natasha or Niki at 514-694-5850.